N-95 Masks vs. Surgical Masks vs. Cloth Masks – Which One is Better at Preventing the Coronavirus and How?

It has been four long months since the global pandemic has brought our world to a standstill – with people locking their doors and staying indoors. As the viral transmission continues to rage at an overwhelming speed, the most basic defense against it has become hand washing and wearing masks. While washing hands is relatively easy, it is confusing to finalize on a face mask with plenty of options out there.

From N95 and surgical masks for healthcare workers to cloth/ homemade masks for the rest of us, what do we really know about these different types of masks? Which mask offers the best protection from COVID-19: an N95 mask, a surgical mask or a cloth mask?

Let’s begin with the most effective of all: an N95 mask.

N95 Masks

N95 masks or respirators are the most effective, quintessential masks for medical and healthcare professionals. They are shaped like a dome and are a piece of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) that is designed to fit closely to the face, eliminating any gaps that regular masks might have.

The name N95 stands for the filtration efficiency of these respirators that block 95% of the small contaminated airborne particles and large droplets through which the virus is typically transmitted.

So if N95 masks are the best for stopping the coronavirus outbreak, why doesn’t the government recommend everyone to wear one? Wouldn’t that be the best way to curb the growth of the virus? No. N95 masks are considered critical supplies that should only be reserved for medical professionals, healthcare workers and frontline warriors that come in direct contact with the coronavirus patients and hence, need the maximum level of protection.

Surgical Masks

Surgical or medical masks are disposable coverings that are worn loosely around the face. They are made in different thickness as compared to N95 masks. But, they do have the ability to protect healthcare workers from coming in contact with splashes or sprays or large droplets, although not very small particles. According to research, surgical masks can block the majority of respiratory droplets emitted by an infected person, but how these masks protect the wearer, is yet to be researched. At present, these masks are also not recommended for everyday use outside of hospitals or healthcare facilities and should be conserved for use by medical professionals.

Cloth Masks

For the general public, cloth masks are recommended over the other two types. While cloth or handmade masks are not guaranteed to protect against fluid or airborne particles, they can protect the wearer (if he/she is carrying the virus), from infecting others.

Countries all over the world have recommended people to use cloth masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Cloth masks are non-medical masks and are not typically used in healthcare settings. They are not as effective as the other two masks and do not meet the same quality standards for protecting the wearer.


No matter what type of mask you choose for yourself, you should watch out for counterfeits and low-quality products. This is especially vital while buying N95 masks that are in the highest demand and therefore, very widely counterfeited.

If you are looking for multi-layer, high-grade N95 masks that can act as your first line of defense against infection and pollution, you are at the right place. Sterimask is a brand from the house of Medicap, a world-class pharmaceutical company that manufactures industry-grade N95 masks to shield you from viruses and other particulate matter around you.

Our qualified team delivers multi-layer, high grade N95 face masks that protect you from infection and pollution. So, if you are on the hunt for face masks for yourself and your family, get in touch with us today!

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